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Alignment between words and deeds builds trust

In this video Craig explains why it is so important to align words with deeds in order to build trust. Building trust among group members helps prevent conflict and helps improve team problem solving and decision making.

Find more advice, and reader comments, in the Good Group Tip Do what you say.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

I want to talk a little about trust.

“Jane, it’s Friday! At Monday’s meeting you said that you would call the band manager and ask him what he needed for setup. You said you would do that by Wednesday. So I told the stage manager that he could expect to hear from me by Thursday, and now it’s Friday and the stage manager is angry at me, and I’m angry at you because you didn’t do what you said you would do.”

The quickest way to erode trust is to not do what you say you will do. The quickest way to build trust is to do what you said you would do. It has to do with alignment between words and deeds. Trust gets built when deeds and words are aligned; trust erodes when there is a misalignment between words and deeds. It’s pretty simple.

So if we look back at this little scenario and look at Jane’s actions, what did she do wrong? We’re probably quick to conclude that the fault was committed when she didn’t do what she said she would do. The problem was lack of doing. But there’s another way to fix the alignment. Maybe the problem is that she shouldn’t have said she would do that in the first place. The problem was in the saying.

I’m just pointing out that there are two ways to fix a misalignment between words and deeds. One has to do with being very careful about the words you say or don’t say. Another has to do with following up on the deeds.

You want to build trust? You can do, do, do, everything that you said — or you can not say so much in the first place. Next time you are in a position of maybe volunteering to do something, think twice. Think, “Am I really going to follow through with this?”

We are quick to please. We want to say things in the moment that will please others. We want to say things that will avoid conflict. We want to say things that will make ourselves look good, like we’re real doers. But if we don’t actually do the stuff we say, our words become meaningless and trust erodes.

Thanks for listening everybody. I hope that you help your group make good decisions.

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